More than half of American workers are unhappy at work, with a third already scoping out new jobs, according to a survey just released by the consulting firm Mercer. The other 21 percent of dissatisfied workers are staying, begrudgingly the survey says.
The survey, called “What’s Working,” asked 2,400 U.S. workers in late 2010 how they felt about their jobs and compensation. Responses showed a decline in almost every category versus the last survey in 2005, including pay, benefits and retirement contributions from employers.
The youngest employees were the least happy with 40 percent or more of those under 34 seriously considering leaving.
Many employees don’t think their companies have their acts together, according to the Mercer survey; the lowest ratings came under the statement, “Believe organization as a whole is well-managed.” Mercer says these responses signal “diminished loyalty” and “widespread apathy.” It should be noted that the company provides “talent management” and “human capital” consulting services, which presumably can help companies improve these factors.
But, there is one category that saw an improvement at the end of 2010. In what might seem slightly surprising in a bad economy, almost half of employees felt better about their prospects for getting promotions and pay raises. That’s up from less than a third in 2005.
Gallup polls also show a decrease in employees’ satisfaction with their work environment. Every year since 2008, there’s been a gradual decrease in satisfaction. 2011 shows a sharper slide.
Gallup’s companion well-being index says all those unhappy workers might even suffer health consequences. Of those who are “actively disengaged” in their work, less than a fifth say they have overall excellent health versus 31% of those who are engaged. The actively disengaged also reported much higher rates of depression and obesity.
Even in an ailing economy, employees are not content just to have jobs. They still place high value on happiness in the workplace.